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Nominations for Jean Banchet Awards Open to the Public

The Grand Chefs Gala to fight Cystic Fibrosis may not be until January 27, 2012, but the chance to nominate your favorite chefs, restaurants and mixologists starts now. For the first time the nominations for the Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence, which are given at the event, are open to the public. Previously they tapped into critics and food writers for their picks.

You have until November 4 to select your favorites in categories such as: Best New Restaurant, Rising Chef of the Year and Best Mixologist. Nominations can be made on the Grand Chefs Gala website. The top four names in each category will become the nominees. As for finding out who will join the ranks of some of last year's winners, Curtis Duffy, Grant Achatz and Chris Pandel? You'll have to wait until January to find out.